Transport & Logistics |
Bike North Inc.

Sydney Harbour Bridge Northern Cycleway Ramp - Open Letter




8 June 2018

Bike North Incorporated

An open Letter to Residents of North Sydney, North Sydney Councillors, North Sydney Mayor, Minister for Roads and Minister for Transport.

In 1932 the Sydney Harbour Bridge was opened. At the time only pedestrian were allowed on footways[1]. Cyclists were required to ride on the main deck. In 1962 ‘pedal cyclists’ were defined separately to vehicles and relegated to the public way on the western side of the bridge[2]. The 2007 Sydney Harbour Bridge Conservation and Management reports that in 1972 the public way on the western side of the bridge was converted to a cycleway[3]. Since 1962, cyclists have had to endure the 55 steps at the northern end of the western public way.

In 1999 the first Sydney Harbour Bridge Cycleway Feasibility study took place. Campaigns to eliminate the steps for cyclists ramped up in 2008. In 2012 there was a further Sydney Harbour Bridge Ramp Options Feasibility Study[4]. Further work led to the announcement in December 2016[5] and options report in Nov 2017[6].

There has been no direct option for cyclists crossing the Sydney Harbour Bridge since 1962. Much work has been done in the last two decades to make good this vital missing link. It is more vital than ever with cycling a popular mode of transport for those using cycling to assist their mobility, riding recumbents, trikes, e-bikes, child trailers, etc.

The report in March 2018[7] that the plans for the ramp had hit yet another hurdle, 56 years after cyclists were relegated to using steps, is most unfortunate. Further, to read that, in a submission to RMS, active transport planning at North Sydney Council suggests that a) the access not be addressed because the access across the bridge is substandard, b) cyclists don’t know what is good for them, and c) advocating provision for cyclists on the main deck, is quite alarming[8].

Bike North asserts the following regarding the desperately needed northern ramp to the Sydney Harbour Bridge Cycleway.

A.     This is not a new problem. It has been 56 years in the making. With cyclists of all ranges needing an accessible ramp, it must not be delayed any longer.

B.     While we agree that views of the historic bridge should be maintained, the views as of 1932 have already been compromised by high rises on the south west side of Alfred St[9]. We believe a compromise can be achieved.

C.     North Sydney Council’s position that cyclists would be given back an existing traffic lane on the main deck is admirable. However, Bike North cannot accept this position as it would likely be another 56 years before such an outcome.

D.     Bike North recommends that RMS, Transport for NSW, Heritage Council, Residents, Bike North and North Sydney Council convene a round table to discuss cycle access to the Bridge further, with the round table to continue until all parties can compromise on a solution.

E.     All parties to release a combined press statement showing support for the round table and their commitment to work to achieve a solution as soon as possible.

ENDS - Endnotes Below

Bike North is a non-profit community based Bicycle User Group or BUG, affiliated with Bicycle NSW and Cycling NSW and covering Hornsby, Hunters Hill, Ku-ring-gai, Willoughby, Lane Cove, North Sydney, Ryde & The Hills council areas. Through long years of experience and collaborative work with Local Councils and Government Departments, we have consistently followed through with our motto “Making Cycling Better in Northern Sydney”.


Tom Rubin


Bike North Inc.


M. 0414 515 696


Darryn Capes-Davis

Communications Manager

Bike North Inc.


M. 0406 380 862


[1] Rule 15, 15 Mar 1932 - REGULATIONS UNDER THE SYDNEY HARBOUR BRIDGE (ADMINISTRATION) ACT, 1932. - Trove - 15 Mar 1932 - REGULATIONS UNDER THE SYDNEY HARBOUR BRIDGE (ADMINISTRATION) ACT, 1932. - Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001)

[2] Rules 4 and 5, 10 Aug 1962 - SYDNEY HARBOUR BRIDGE (ADMINISTRATION) ACT, 1932-1962.—REGULATIONS. - Trove - 10 Aug 1962 - SYDNEY HARBOUR BRIDGE (ADMINISTRATION) ACT, 1932-1962.—REGULATIONS. - Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001)

[9] Google Street View, Burton St.